- There is a veritable flood of commentary and new restorations of Spinosaurus on the internet. Most of the commentary is based on false assumptions that feverishly support this or that “Ideal” image of this poorly known, biggest of all theropods. If it is bigger than T. rex it must have been a scary monster and a fierce predator, not a useless aquatic wimp… isn’t it? Especially if most of the prejudices come from a B monster movie!
The story of the reconstruction of Spinosaurus is rather truculent, to say the least… and when Ibrahim et al produced the first restoration based on the known remains, well, he opened the flood. At first glance “everybody” (including me, the legs did not seem to match the rest of the body) concluded Ibrahim was wrong… there were two animals there in different stages of growth. After the tempers settled, the model stayed; at least it had to be a biped and/or it walked on its knuckles like a gorilla (only no dinosaur hand had knuckles)… whatever other possibilities except that it might have been indeed the first fully aquatic theropod and could not have walked on land as most restorations today show him…very convincing CG ones included!
But gravity doesn’t lie. All the walking restorations I have seen need to strengthen the legs or at least make them small but massive. Nevertheless, the precarious balance that the real reconstructed skeleton of this animal show, sustained by its very long tail, trunk and neck, small pelvis and incredibly short legs that look weakly muscled, could not possibly support its whole 15-meter long, multi-ton frame freely walking on solid ground like any other theropod.
So I suggested that when (and if) Spinosaurus needed to use the land to lay eggs, he might have been some sort of dinosaurian walrus or some sort of Ambulocetus-like dinosaur that in a few million years might have become the first dino-whale! That is exciting to think for any scientist, but not for the Idealists. The Ideal now is trying to adamantly continue to prove that it is, in reality, two specimens of Spinosaurus in one… unfortunately for the idealists, they have no proof, the tail finally appeared and according to Cristiano Dal Sasso the tail fits perfectly well and its elongated vertebrae creating a fin that looks exactly what you can expect for a rather elegant, fully aquatic animal.
I trust my friend Cristiano Dal Sasso more than I trust the idealists. Until more is known of a complete skeleton of Spinosaurus found in situ, the evidence is currently showing us a very odd aquatic dinosaur, with also the bone density of an aquatic animal. Spinosaurs skulls, in general, have been always odd and many doubted spinosaurs were dinosaurs at the beginning. The model of Ibrahim et al continues to be current. This may change in the future who knows?
So I set my hands to work again on one of the old reconstructions that I did first for Anusuya Chinsamy‘s Dinosaurs from Africa, and that has been evolving through the years. Yes, this is a biped Spinosaurus trying to find a place to lay her eggs. Note the theropod hands, based on Alan Gishlick’s work on the hand of raptors… this is obviously not a raptor, but the outwardly hyperexpanded digits are typically theropodian and could have helped in this bipedal-quadrupedal posture. The puny legs might have helped in the dragging of the body. You may notice my earlier takes of this same painting in this blog!
Very sorry that for the time being the Idealists can’t have their monster back. Can’t believe all this controversy is simply trying to get back a B-Movie monster but it is consistent with my thesis about Dinosaur Iconography embedded and twisted by the Media! In any case, I’d be very scared if I was a fish!
And yes! I’m looking forward to seeing the 3D model by Hector Munive of a baby Spinosaurus I designed for him… watch this space!